Jan. 21 laid the foundations for a powerful movement for women’s rights. The Women’s Marches, which took place in Washington, D.C., in over 600 sister U.S. towns and cities, and in many more cities around the world, were an unprecedented expression of the determination of women and men to struggle against any governmental attempts to roll back those rights.
inauguration of the misogynist Donald Trump, whose presidential
administration along with Congress threatens to cut reproductive
health care and other services for women, gave a strong impetus for
many marchers to join the protests.
we are seeing is undeniable!” affirmed the TV news. Maria Theresa
Kumar of MSNBC told viewers, “I heard every language. I heard about
abortion and equal rights. I heard about LGBTQ rights.” Official
estimates came rolling in, and with each new city that was announced,
everyone was amazed. The projections on crowd size that rally
organizers had put forward only a day earlier had been exceeded in
almost every case.
evening, it became apparent that we had witnessed the largest protest
in U.S. history. From 3,600,000 to 4,577,00 marched and rallied in
the United States on Jan. 21, according to Jeremy Pressman, from the
University of Connecticut, and Erica Chenoweth, from the University
the same time, over a quarter of a million people rallied in other
countries—from Sweden to South Africa to Australia. Over 100,000
filled the streets around London’s Trafalgar Square. In Paris,
thousands rallied near the Eiffel Tower, carrying posters that read,
“We have our eyes on you Mr. Trump” and “With our sisters in
official count for the march and rally in Washington, D.C., was
500,000, while some estimated that far more than 600,000 had
participated. Actress America Ferrera began the rally by stating,
“Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack,
and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the
president is not America. … We are America, and we are here to
Steinham told the crowd, “This is a day that will change us forever
because we are together. Each of us, individually and collectively,
will never be the same again.” She looked out at a sea of people on
the National Mall. Thousands wore pink knitted “pussy caps,”
which were seen as a retort to Trump’s crude remark about grabbing
who was in Washington points out, “The rally was overwhelmingly
made up of people who had never been on a protest demonstration
before. From the podium, they heard an incredible range of commentary
from people with long experience in the Black, prison, LGBTQ, and
other liberation movements, and from the unions. Despite the fact
that most of the solutions that were proposed did not go beyond what
is acceptable to the Democratic Party, people still heard an advanced
analysis from many movements. The message was that people do not
intend to go back to the old racist, sexist America.”
great many demonstrators in Washington, as in other cities, carried
colorful and clever hand-lettered signs. Slogans included, “A
woman’s place is in the revolution!” “Tweet women with
respect!” and “Girls just want to have FUN-damental rights!”
Many signs contained anti-racist slogans and expressed solidarity
with the Black Lives Matter movement against police killings and
violence. Climate change was another issue that many marchers
protested on their signs.
New York City, the mayor’s office estimated 400,000 marchers, and
Women’s March organizers estimated 600,000. Fifth Avenue was so
clogged that people had to move at a snail’s pace, and the march
continued late into the night. Los Angeles organizers put their
number of marchers at 750,000.
in Chicago states, “The Chicago Sun
250,000 marched, estimated from aerial photographs. Organizers
cancelled the march after collaboration with the police, as its size
seemed to overwhelm them. Many of the signs at the protest reflected
revulsion of various aspects of Trump sexism, while others made
reference to Trump’s ‘illegitimate’ election.”
police estimated 130,000. About 175,000 gathered on Boston Common,
where Tanisha Sullivan, head of the Boston NAACP, called on marchers
to draw courage from the women who have marched in protests in
decades and centuries before. “Despair, my sisters, has no place
here,” she said. “Today, my sisters, we march through our
disappointment to the promise of freedom. We march through our fear
in search of racial and gender equality. We march through great
uncertainty in pursuit of justice for all.”
cities were amazed to see massive crowds fill their streets—including
200,000 in Denver, 100,00 in Portland, Ore., 60,000 to 100,000 in
Oakland, Calif., and 75,000 to 100,000 in Madison, Wis. In St Paul,
Minn., police estimated 90,000 to 100,000—five times the number
that had been expected and at least twice the size of any other
demonstration that had ever been held in Minnesota.
cities saw smaller, but still huge, numbers of marchers. The mayor’s
office in Philadelphia reported that over 50,000 marched there,
including a raucous contingent of 1000 LGBTQ persons from the
national Creating Change Conference, which was meeting in the city.
In addition, thousands of Philadelphians joined the national march in
50,000 marched in the rain in San Francisco and 25,000 in San Jose,
and 5000 braved a heavy snow in Boise, Idaho. About 10,000 protested
in Kansas City and in Hartford, Conn., and 15,000 to 20,000 marched
in Montpelier, Vt.
Tucson police said that over 15,000 marched there. Phoenix saw
36,000, and Flagstaff had 1200. There were high numbers of protesters
in the South, where Atlanta had 60,000, Raleigh 17,000, Houston
20,000, Louisville 5000, Duluth 1400, and Memphis 900.
number of cities and towns in Canada hosted women’s marches on Jan.
21, including 60,000 in Toronto, 15,000 in Vancouver, 10,000 in
Ottawa, and 5000 in Montreal.
>> The article above was written by Ann Montague and Michael Schreiber of Socialist Action newspaper. Photos:
Gretchen Marino / Socialist Action (Philadelphia) and Marty Goodman /
Socialist Action (New York City).